Thursday, September 8, 2011

Beijing: In defence of sex education in schools

Sex education, especially sex education for primary school students, may come as a shock to many older Chinese who grew up in different times.

But, whether we like it or not, recent years have seen a dramatic increase in premarital sex, and unwanted pregnancies and abortions among young girls. And precisely for that reason sex education classes, complete with graphic drawings of sexual organs, will be introduced to a primary school in Beijing from this session on an experimental basis.

It is imperative that steps be taken to reduce the consequences of sexual activities among youngsters without proper knowledge. Medical clinics in China perform an estimated 13 million abortions a year. The actual number may be higher if we consider abortions performed in unregistered medical clinics and the fact that about 10 million abortion-inducing pills are sold every year.

The main reason why there has been a massive increase in the number of abortions is deceptively simple: Many people lack even the basic knowledge to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Perhaps this is what prompted Li Ying, a professor at Peking University, to say that young people need to acquire better knowledge about sex.

A recent government report says nearly two-thirds of the abortions in the country's hospitals are performed on single women aged between 20 and 29. A government official familiar with this area quoted almost 50 percent of the women who underwent abortions as having said they did not use contraceptives.

It seems that in terms of preventing abortions and unwanted pregnancies, China can learn something from other countries. In countries like the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan and Singapore, all schools have sex education courses which begin from the early grades, even in primary schools.

Source: Xinhuanet, 2 September 2011

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